Indiana State University
Indiana State University President Deborah J. Curtis announced Friday the creation of an annual address in honor of slain Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a 1983 alumnus of the university.
The Jamal Khashoggi Annual Address on Journalism and the Media will examine current and critical issues related to journalism, the first amendment and freedom of the press. Invited speakers will include prominent journalists, authors, filmmakers, photojournalists or other professionals working in the media.
“I believe it is highly appropriate to pay tribute to Jamal Khashoggi’s lifelong career by providing an opportunity for these important issues to be discussed,” Curtis said at the meeting of the ISU Board of Trustees.
Khashoggi attended Indiana State as an undergraduate from 1977 to 1982 and conferred a business administration degree on May 7, 1983. A critic of the Saudi government, he was assassinated in early October 2018 after visiting the Saudi embassy in Turkey to obtain marriage documents. His death prompted an international outcry.
Khashoggi is among the journalists honored by Time magazine as its Person of the Year in 2018. “The Guardians,” as the magazine dubbed them, were dedicated to the pursuit of truth despite a war on facts and tremendous obstacles, including violence and imprisonment. Khashoggi is the only Indiana State alumnus to receive the honor and the only person to be posthumously named a Person of the Year.
“A speaker series is essential to the vitality of an academic institution,” said Greg Bierly, dean of the ISU Honors College. “Democracy thrives on the open exchange of ideas, and universities are the realm of test and trial for all manner of theories, explanations, proposals and solutions. Only when these environments are infused with the fresh perspectives of societal and professional leaders is knowledge advanced, debate made relevant and a student body given the tools to evaluate and improve the world.”
Chris Olsen, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and historian, shared a similar sentiment. “Freedom of the press remains the most essential foundation of democracy, the only way for Americans really to interrogate and hold our elected leaders to account,” Olsen said. “It’s critical for democratic politics to function that we have open and vigorous debate, based in examination of evidence and evidence-based arguments, about contemporary issues.”
In other business:
• Trustees approved housing and dining rates for 2019-20. The rate for traditional residence hall room with a standard meal plan, which represents the majority of on-campus rooms, will increase by two percent. Student rooms at 500 Wabash and University Apartments will also increase by two percent.
The on-campus early arrival daily rate will be adjusted from $14 to $20, the first increase in several years. The break access contract rate for students who wish to remain on campus during break periods will be increased from $600 to $800.
The Residential Life technology fee will continue to be $15 per semester.
• Trustees approved a two percent increase in flight fees for the mandatory certificates required by the four-year bachelor’s degree program (private pilot, instrument, commercial and multi-engine) and other certifications. Trustees also approved changes to other academic program and laboratory/course-specific fees, effective fall 2019.
Operational expenses for the ISU Flight Academy are primarily funded by flight fee income. Adjustments to these rates, effective with fall semester 2019, are necessary because of increases in operating costs for fuel, maintenance, salaries and related benefits.
• Trustees approved changes to several policies. A modification to policy 126.96.36.199 in the Constitution of the Faculty of Indiana State University, which was requested by Faculty Senate, establishes a formal process to fill vacancies. A change to policy 146.15 in the Bylaws of the Faculty Senate adjusts when a Temporary Faculty Advocate is selected and the term length one serves.
The modifications to policy 170.7 regarding the Teacher Education Committee changes three things: updates the name of the accrediting body; adds the Bayh College of Education Accreditation and Assessment member as a non-voting, ex-officio member of the committee; removes the limitation that no member can serve more than one consecutive term on the Executive Committee.
• The next meeting of the ISU Board of Trustees is set for May 10.
Indiana State University
Dawnie Wolfe Steadman's investigations of mass graves, war crimes and genocide have taken her around the world, including to Indiana State University for the Wittman Lecture Series on March 1.
Wolfe Steadman is director of the University of Tennessee-Knoxville's Forensic Anthropology Research Center, which was the original body farm - a research facility where human decomposition is studied.
She will share how her research is applied to human rights violation investigations worldwide during a public presentation at 7 p.m. in University Hall Theater as part of the third annual Wittman Speaker Series.
"The title of my talk - ‘Raccoons, Mass Graves and Drugs: Multidisciplinary Research at the Body Farm' - is intentionally broad and ambiguous, as I want to give a general overview of what the Body Farm is, perhaps do some myth busting as well, some of our current research and the real-world implications of this research. Curiously raccoons figure prominently," she said. "I'll also demonstrate how the work we do at the Body Farm informs human rights investigations, which brought me to the field of forensic anthropology to begin with and in which I am still active."
Wolfe Steadman is a board certified forensic anthropologist who consults for medical examiners and law enforcement across the nation. She is also author of "Hard Evidence: Case Studies in Forensic Anthropology."
"Human rights investigations, namely involving the exhumation of mass graves, identification of victims and documenting trauma to the remains, utilizes every aspect of forensic anthropology training - excavation, identification, postmortem interval estimation and trauma analysis. Therefore, the research we do in these areas directly informs these investigations," she said. "In addition, we have worked with technologies that can help us find graves remotely. We can potentially do a lot of searching for graves from my campus office in Knoxville with less time on the ground in ongoing conflict situations."
Wolfe Steadman became interested in the field after one of her anthropology professors at the University of Arizona gave a lecture on how he had identified victims of a plane crash.
"He showed how he could scientifically identify them from their skeletal remains and talked about how important it was to the families that they received the identified remains for funerals. I was enthralled by how science could solve such a problem and the societal impact to grieving families, so I added anthropology to my list of majors so I could learn more," Wolfe Steadman said.
She went on to graduate school at the University of Chicago, where she had the opportunity to go to Argentina to work with the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team. They were exhuming mass graves of thousands of individuals who had been "disappeared" by the Junta (military) government between 1976 and 1983.
"Working with them solidified my interest in tackling sociopolitical problems by understanding who victims were, how they died and potentially who was directly and indirectly responsible for their deaths," she said. "Reports produced by the EAAF were eventually used as evidence in war crimes trials against the Junta to demonstrate the fate of some of the disappeared. I have been involved in human rights in different contexts ever since."
Now in its third year, the Wittman Speaker Series brings to campus guest lecturers focused on subjects such as archaeology, anthropology, liberal arts, current topics in science and student success. The series is funded with a contribution from Laura Wittman, '93, and Jim Wittman.
The Wittmans are natives of Indiana, residing in Newburgh. Laura is a graduate of the then School of Arts and Sciences with a Bachelor of Science in anthropology. Jim is the COO of Regency Properties, a commercial real estate firm spanning more than 26 states.
Laura has sat on the ISU Alumni Association Board and is currently a member of Sycamore Athletic Fund Board. In addition to sponsoring the speaker's series, they are members of the President's Society, Champion's Circle, The 1865 Society and lifetime members of the Blue Card Club. They also hold numerous positions on community boards in Evansville and beyond.